In solid-state physics, the electron mobility characterises how quickly an electron can move through a metal or semiconductor, when pulled by an electric field. There is an analogous quantity for holes, called hole mobility. The term carrier mobility refers in general to both electron and hole mobility.
Solid-state physics is the study of rigid matter, or solids, through methods such as quantum mechanics, crystallography, electromagnetism, and metallurgy. It is the largest branch of condensed matter physics. Solid-state physics studies how the large-scale properties of solid materials result from their atomic-scale properties. Thus, solid-state physics forms a theoretical basis of materials science. It also has direct applications, for example in the technology of transistors and semiconductors.
The electron is a subatomic particle, symbol
, whose electric charge is negative one elementary charge. Electrons belong to the first generation of the lepton particle family, and are generally thought to be elementary particles because they have no known components or substructure. The electron has a mass that is approximately 1/1836 that of the proton. Quantum mechanical properties of the electron include an intrinsic angular momentum (spin) of a half-integer value, expressed in units of the reduced Planck constant, ħ. Being fermions, no two electrons can occupy the same quantum state, in accordance with the Pauli exclusion principle. Like all elementary particles, electrons exhibit properties of both particles and waves: they can collide with other particles and can be diffracted like light. The wave properties of electrons are easier to observe with experiments than those of other particles like neutrons and protons because electrons have a lower mass and hence a longer de Broglie wavelength for a given energy.
A metal is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appearance, and conducts electricity and heat relatively well. Metals are typically malleable or ductile. A metal may be a chemical element such as iron, or an alloy such as stainless steel.
Electron and hole mobility are special cases of electrical mobility of charged particles in a fluid under an applied electric field.
In logic, especially as applied in mathematics, concept A is a special case or specialization of concept B precisely if every instance of A is also an instance of B but not vice versa, or equivalently, if B is a generalization of A. A limiting case is a type of special case which is arrived at by taking some aspect of the concept to the extreme of what is permitted in the general case. A degenerate case is a special case which is in some way qualitatively different from almost all of the cases allowed.
Electrical mobility is the ability of charged particles to move through a medium in response to an electric field that is pulling them. The separation of ions according to their mobility in gas phase is called ion mobility spectrometry, in liquid phase it is called electrophoresis.
When an electric field E is applied across a piece of material, the electrons respond by moving with an average velocity called the drift velocity, . Then the electron mobility μ is defined as
In physics a drift velocity is the average velocity attained by charged particles, such as electrons, in a material due to an electric field. In general, an electron in a conductor will propagate randomly at the Fermi velocity, resulting in an average velocity of zero. Applying an electric field adds to this random motion a small net flow in one direction; this is the drift.
Electron mobility is almost always specified in units of cm2/(V⋅s). This is different from the SI unit of mobility, m2/(V⋅s). They are related by 1m2/(V⋅s) = 104cm2/(V⋅s).
The volt is the derived unit for electric potential, electric potential difference (voltage), and electromotive force. It is named after the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta (1745–1827).
The second is the base unit of time in the International System of Units (SI), commonly understood and historically defined as 1⁄86400 of a day – this factor derived from the division of the day first into 24 hours, then to 60 minutes and finally to 60 seconds each. Analog clocks and watches often have sixty tick marks on their faces, representing seconds, and a "second hand" to mark the passage of time in seconds. Digital clocks and watches often have a two-digit seconds counter. The second is also part of several other units of measurement like meters per second for velocity, meters per second per second for acceleration, and per second for frequency.
The square metre or square meter is the SI derived unit of area with symbol m2.
Conductivity is proportional to the product of mobility and carrier concentration. For example, the same conductivity could come from a small number of electrons with high mobility for each, or a large number of electrons with a small mobility for each. For metals, it would not typically matter which of these is the case, since most metal electrical behavior depends on conductivity alone. Therefore mobility is relatively unimportant in metal physics. On the other hand, for semiconductors, the behavior of transistors and other devices can be very different depending on whether there are many electrons with low mobility or few electrons with high mobility. Therefore mobility is a very important parameter for semiconductor materials. Almost always, higher mobility leads to better device performance, with other things equal.
A transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify or switch electronic signals and electrical power. It is composed of semiconductor material usually with at least three terminals for connection to an external circuit. A voltage or current applied to one pair of the transistor's terminals controls the current through another pair of terminals. Because the controlled (output) power can be higher than the controlling (input) power, a transistor can amplify a signal. Today, some transistors are packaged individually, but many more are found embedded in integrated circuits.
Semiconductor mobility depends on the impurity concentrations (including donor and acceptor concentrations), defect concentration, temperature, and electron and hole concentrations. It also depends on the electric field, particularly at high fields when velocity saturation occurs. It can be determined by the Hall effect, or inferred from transistor behavior.
The Hall effect is the production of a voltage difference across an electrical conductor, transverse to an electric current in the conductor and to an applied magnetic field perpendicular to the current. It was discovered by Edwin Hall in 1879. For clarity, the original effect is sometimes called the ordinary Hall effect to distinguish it from other "Hall effects" which have different physical mechanisms.
Without any applied electric field, in a solid, electrons and holes move around randomly. Therefore, on average there will be no overall motion of charge carriers in any particular direction over time.
However, when an electric field is applied, each electron or hole is accelerated by the electric field. If the electron were in a vacuum, it would be accelerated to ever-increasing velocity (called ballistic transport). However, in a solid, the electron repeatedly scatters off crystal defects, phonons, impurities, etc., so that it loses some energy and changes direction. The final result is that the electron moves with a finite average velocity, called the drift velocity. This net electron motion is usually much slower than the normally occurring random motion.
The two charge carriers, electrons and holes, will typically have different drift velocities for the same electric field.
Quasi-ballistic transport is possible in solids if the electrons are accelerated across a very small distance (as small as the mean free path), or for a very short time (as short as the mean free time). In these cases, drift velocity and mobility are not meaningful.
The electron mobility is defined by the equation:
The hole mobility is defined by the same equation. Both electron and hole mobilities are positive by definition.
Usually, the electron drift velocity in a material is directly proportional to the electric field, which means that the electron mobility is a constant (independent of electric field). When this is not true (for example, in very large electric fields), the mobility depends on the electric field.
The SI unit of velocity is m/s, and the SI unit of electric field is V/m. Therefore the SI unit of mobility is (m/s)/(V/m) = m2/(V⋅s). However, mobility is much more commonly expressed in cm2/(V⋅s) = 10−4 m2/(V⋅s).
Mobility is usually a strong function of material impurities and temperature, and is determined empirically. Mobility values are typically presented in table or chart form. Mobility is also different for electrons and holes in a given material.
There is a simple relation between mobility and electrical conductivity. Let n be the number density (concentration) of electrons, and let μe be their mobility. In the electric field E, each of these electrons will move with the velocity vector , for a total current density of (where e is the elementary charge). Therefore, the electrical conductivity σ satisfies:
This formula is valid when the conductivity is due entirely to electrons. In a p-type semiconductor, the conductivity is due to holes instead, but the formula is essentially the same: If "p" is the concentration of holes and μh is the hole mobility, then the conductivity is
If a semiconductor has both electrons and holes, the total conductivity is
Typical electron mobility for Si at room temperature (300 K) is 1400 cm2/ (V⋅s) and the hole mobility is around 450 cm2/ (V⋅s).
Very high mobility has been found in several low-dimensional systems, such as two-dimensional electron gases (2DEG) (35,000,000 cm2/(V⋅s) at low temperature), carbon nanotubes (100,000 cm2/(V⋅s) at room temperature) and more recently, graphene (200,000 cm2/ V⋅s at low temperature). Organic semiconductors (polymer, oligomer) developed thus far have carrier mobilities below 50 cm2/(V⋅s), and usually much lower.
|Material||Electron mobility||Hole mobility|
At low fields, the drift velocity vd is proportional to the electric field E, so mobility μ is constant. This value of μ is called the low-field mobility.
As the electric field is increased, however, the carrier velocity increases sublinearly and asymptotically towards a maximum possible value, called the saturation velocityvsat. For example, the value of vsat is on the order of 1×107 cm/s for both electrons and holes in Si. It is on the order of 6×106 cm/s for Ge. This velocity is a characteristic of the material and a strong function of doping or impurity levels and temperature. It is one of the key material and semiconductor device properties that determine a device such as a transistor's ultimate limit of speed of response and frequency.
This velocity saturation phenomenon results from a process called optical phonon scattering. At high fields, carriers are accelerated enough to gain sufficient kinetic energy between collisions to emit an optical phonon, and they do so very quickly, before being accelerated once again. The velocity that the electron reaches before emitting a phonon is:
where ωphonon(opt.) is the optical-phonon angular frequency and m* the carrier effective mass in the direction of the electric field. The value of Ephonon (opt.) is 0.063 eV for Si and 0.034 eV for GaAs and Ge. The saturation velocity is only one-half of vemit, because the electron starts at zero velocity and accelerates up to vemit in each cycle.(This is a somewhat oversimplified description. )
Velocity saturation is not the only possible high-field behavior. Another is the Gunn effect, where a sufficiently high electric field can cause intervalley electron transfer, which reduces drift velocity. This is unusual; increasing the electric field almost always increases the drift velocity, or else leaves it unchanged. The result is negative differential resistance.
In the regime of velocity saturation (or other high-field effects), mobility is a strong function of electric field. This means that mobility is a somewhat less useful concept, compared to simply discussing drift velocity directly.
Recall that by definition, mobility is dependent on the drift velocity. The main factor determining drift velocity (other than effective mass) is scattering time, i.e. how long the carrier is ballistically accelerated by the electric field until it scatters (collides) with something that changes its direction and/or energy. The most important sources of scattering in typical semiconductor materials, discussed below, are ionized impurity scattering and acoustic phonon scattering (also called lattice scattering). In some cases other sources of scattering may be important, such as neutral impurity scattering, optical phonon scattering, surface scattering, and defect scattering.
Elastic scattering means that energy is (almost) conserved during the scattering event. Some elastic scattering processes are scattering from acoustic phonons, impurity scattering, piezoelectric scattering, etc. In acoustic phonon scattering, electrons scatter from state k to k', while emitting or absorbing a phonon of wave vector q. This phenomenon is usually modeled by assuming that lattice vibrations cause small shifts in energy bands. The additional potential causing the scattering process is generated by the deviations of bands due to these small transitions from frozen lattice positions.
Semiconductors are doped with donors and/or acceptors, which are typically ionized, and are thus charged. The Coulombic forces will deflect an electron or hole approaching the ionized impurity. This is known as ionized impurity scattering . The amount of deflection depends on the speed of the carrier and its proximity to the ion. The more heavily a material is doped, the higher the probability that a carrier will collide with an ion in a given time, and the smaller the mean free time between collisions, and the smaller the mobility. When determining the strength of these interactions due to the long-range nature of the Coulomb potential, other impurities and free carriers cause the range of interaction with the carriers to reduce significantly compared to bare Coulomb interaction.
If these scatterers are near the interface, the complexity of the problem increases due to the existence of crystal defects and disorders. Charge trapping centers that scatter free carriers form in many cases due to defects associated with dangling bonds. Scattering happens because after trapping a charge, the defect becomes charged and therefore starts interacting with free carriers. If scattered carriers are in the inversion layer at the interface, the reduced dimensionality of the carriers makes the case differ from the case of bulk impurity scattering as carriers move only in two dimensions. Interfacial roughness also causes short-range scattering limiting the mobility of quasi-two-dimensional electrons at the interface.
At any temperature above absolute zero, the vibrating atoms create pressure (acoustic) waves in the crystal, which are termed phonons. Like electrons, phonons can be considered to be particles. A phonon can interact (collide) with an electron (or hole) and scatter it. At higher temperature, there are more phonons, and thus increased electron scattering, which tends to reduce mobility.
Piezoelectric effect can occur only in compound semiconductor due to their polar nature. It is small in most semiconductors but may lead to local electric fields that cause scattering of carriers by deflecting them, this effect is important mainly at low temperatures where other scattering mechanisms are weak. These electric fields arise from the distortion of the basic unit cell as strain is applied in certain directions in the lattice.
Surface roughness scattering caused by interfacial disorder is short range scattering limiting the mobility of quasi-two-dimensional electrons at the interface. From high-resolution transmission electron micrographs, it has been determined that the interface is not abrupt on the atomic level, but actual position of the interfacial plane varies one or two atomic layers along the surface. These variations are random and cause fluctuations of the energy levels at the interface, which then causes scattering.
In compound (alloy) semiconductors, which many thermoelectric materials are, scattering caused by the perturbation of crystal potential due to the random positioning of substituting atom species in a relevant sublattice is known as alloy scattering. This can only happen in ternary or higher alloys as their crystal structure forms by randomly replacing some atoms in one of the sublattices (sublattice) of the crystal structure. Generally, this phenomenon is quite weak but in certain materials or circumstances, it can become dominant effect limiting conductivity. In bulk materials, interface scattering is usually ignored.
During inelastic scattering processes, significant energy exchange happens. As with elastic phonon scattering also in the inelastic case, the potential arises from energy band deformations caused by atomic vibrations. Optical phonons causing inelastic scattering usually have the energy in the range 30-50 meV, for comparison energies of acoustic phonon are typically less than 1 meV but some might have energy in order of 10 meV. There is significant change in carrier energy during the scattering process. Optical or high-energy acoustic phonons can also cause intervalley or interband scattering, which means that scattering is not limited within single valley.
Due to the Pauli exclusion principle, electrons can be considered as non-interacting if their density does not exceed the value 1016~1017 cm−3 or electric field value 103 V/cm. However, significantly above these limits electron–electron scattering starts to dominate. Long range and nonlinearity of the Coulomb potential governing interactions between electrons make these interactions difficult to deal with.
A simple model gives the approximate relation between scattering time (average time between scattering events) and mobility. It is assumed that after each scattering event, the carrier's motion is randomized, so it has zero average velocity. After that, it accelerates uniformly in the electric field, until it scatters again. The resulting average drift mobility is:
where q is the elementary charge, m* is the carrier effective mass, and τ is the average scattering time.
If the effective mass is anisotropic (direction-dependent), m* is the effective mass in the direction of the electric field.
Normally, more than one source of scattering is present, for example both impurities and lattice phonons. It is normally a very good approximation to combine their influences using "Matthiessen's Rule" (developed from work by Augustus Matthiessen in 1864):
where µ is the actual mobility, is the mobility that the material would have if there was impurity scattering but no other source of scattering, and is the mobility that the material would have if there was lattice phonon scattering but no other source of scattering. Other terms may be added for other scattering sources, for example
Matthiessen's rule can also be stated in terms of the scattering time:
where τ is the true average scattering time and τimpurities is the scattering time if there was impurity scattering but no other source of scattering, etc.
Matthiessen's rule is an approximation and is not universally valid. This rule is not valid if the factors affecting the mobility depend on each other, because individual scattering probabilities cannot be summed unless they are independent of each other.The average free time of flight of a carrier and therefore the relaxation time is inversely proportional to the scattering probability. For example, lattice scattering alters the average electron velocity (in the electric-field direction), which in turn alters the tendency to scatter off impurities. There are more complicated formulas that attempt to take these effects into account.
|Electrons||∝T −2.4||∝T −1.7||∝T −1.0|
|Holes||∝T −2.2||∝T −2.3||∝T −2.1|
With increasing temperature, phonon concentration increases and causes increased scattering. Thus lattice scattering lowers the carrier mobility more and more at higher temperature. Theoretical calculations reveal that the mobility in non-polar semiconductors, such as silicon and germanium, is dominated by acoustic phonon interaction. The resulting mobility is expected to be proportional to T −3/2, while the mobility due to optical phonon scattering only is expected to be proportional to T −1/2. Experimentally, values of the temperature dependence of the mobility in Si, Ge and GaAs are listed in table.
As , where is the scattering cross section for electrons and holes at a scattering center and is a thermal average (Boltzmann statistics) over all electron or hole velocities in the lower conduction band or upper valence band, temperature dependence of the mobility can be determined. In here, the following definition for the scattering cross section is used: number of particles scattered into solid angle dΩ per unit time divided by number of particles per area per time (incident intensity), which comes from classical mechanics. As Boltzmann statistics are valid for semiconductors .
For scattering from acoustic phonons, for temperatures well above Debye temperature, the estimated cross section Σph is determined from the square of the average vibrational amplitude of a phonon to be proportional to T. The scattering from charged defects (ionized donors or acceptors) leads to the cross section . This formula is the scattering cross section for "Rutherford scattering", where a point charge (carrier) moves past another point charge (defect) experiencing Coulomb interaction.
The temperature dependencies of these two scattering mechanism in semiconductors can be determined by combining formulas for τ, Σ and , to be for scattering from acoustic phonons and from charged defects .
The effect of ionized impurity scattering, however, decreases with increasing temperature because the average thermal speeds of the carriers are increased.Thus, the carriers spend less time near an ionized impurity as they pass and the scattering effect of the ions is thus reduced.
These two effects operate simultaneously on the carriers through Matthiessen's rule. At lower temperatures, ionized impurity scattering dominates, while at higher temperatures, phonon scattering dominates, and the actual mobility reaches a maximum at an intermediate temperature.
Carrier mobility is most commonly measured using the Hall effect. The result of the measurement is called the "Hall mobility" (meaning "mobility inferred from a Hall-effect measurement").
Consider a semiconductor sample with a rectangular cross section as shown in the figures, a current is flowing in the x-direction and a magnetic field is applied in the z-direction. The resulting Lorentz force will accelerate the electrons (n-type materials) or holes (p-type materials) in the (−y) direction, according to the right hand rule and set up an electric field ξy. As a result there is a voltage across the sample, which can be measured with a high-impedance voltmeter. This voltage, VH, is called the Hall voltage. VH is negative for n-type material and positive for p-type material.
Mathematically, the Lorentz force acting on a charge q is given by
In steady state this force is balanced by the force set up by the Hall voltage, so that there is no net force on the carriers in the y direction. For electron,
For electrons, the field points in the -y direction, and for holes, it points in the +y direction.
The electron current I is given by . Sub vx into the expression for ξy,
where RHn is the Hall coefficient for electron, and is defined as
Similarly, for holes
From the Hall coefficient, we can obtain the carrier mobility as follows:
Here the value of VHp (Hall voltage), t (sample thickness), I (current) and B (magnetic field) can be measured directly, and the conductivities σn or σp are either known or can be obtained from measuring the resistivity.
The mobility can also be measured using a field-effect transistor (FET). The result of the measurement is called the "field-effect mobility" (meaning "mobility inferred from a field-effect measurement").
The measurement can work in two ways: From saturation-mode measurements, or linear-region measurements.(See MOSFET for a description of the different modes or regions of operation.)
In this technique,for each fixed gate voltage VGS, the drain-source voltage VDS is increased until the current ID saturates. Next, the square root of this saturated current is plotted against the gate voltage, and the slope msat is measured. Then the mobility is:
where L and W are the length and width of the channel and Ci is the gate insulator capacitance per unit area. This equation comes from the approximate equation for a MOSFET in saturation mode:
where Vth is the threshold voltage. This approximation ignores the Early effect (channel length modulation), among other things. In practice, this technique may underestimate the true mobility.
In this technique, with slope mlin. Then the mobility is:the transistor is operated in the linear region (or "ohmic mode"), where VDS is small and
This equation comes from the approximate equation for a MOSFET in the linear region:
In practice, this technique may overestimate the true mobility, because if VDS is not small enough and VG is not large enough, the MOSFET may not stay in the linear region.
Electron mobility may be determined from non-contact laser photo-reflectance measurements. A series of photo-reflectance measurements are made as the sample is stepped through focus. The electron diffusion length and recombination time are determined by a regressive fit to the data. Then the Einstein relation is used to calculate the mobility.
Electron mobility can be calculated from time-resolved terahertz probe measurement.Femtosecond laser pulses excite the semiconductor and the resulting photoconductivity is measured using a terahertz probe, which detects changes in the terahertz electric field.
The charge carriers in semiconductors are electrons and holes. Their numbers are controlled by the concentrations of impurity elements, i.e. doping concentration. Thus doping concentration has great influence on carrier mobility.
While there is considerable scatter in the experimental data, for noncompensated material (no counter doping) for heavily doped substrates (i.e. and up), the mobility in silicon is often characterized by the empirical relationship:
where N is the doping concentration (either ND or NA), and Nref and α are fitting parameters. At room temperature, the above equation becomes:
These equations apply only to silicon, and only under low field.
An exciton is a bound state of an electron and an electron hole which are attracted to each other by the electrostatic Coulomb force. It is an electrically neutral quasiparticle that exists in insulators, semiconductors and some liquids. The exciton is regarded as an elementary excitation of condensed matter that can transport energy without transporting net electric charge.
The thermal conductivity of a material is a measure of its ability to conduct heat. It is commonly denoted by , , or .
Electrical resistivity and its inverse, electrical conductivity, is a fundamental property of a material that quantifies how strongly it resists or conducts electric current. A low resistivity indicates a material that readily allows electric current. Resistivity is commonly represented by the Greek letter ρ (rho). The SI unit of electrical resistivity is the ohm-metre (Ω⋅m). For example, if a 1 m × 1 m × 1 m solid cube of material has sheet contacts on two opposite faces, and the resistance between these contacts is 1 Ω, then the resistivity of the material is 1 Ω⋅m.
In solid state physics, a particle's effective mass is the mass that it seems to have when responding to forces, or the mass that it seems to have when interacting with other identical particles in a thermal distribution. One of the results from the band theory of solids is that the movement of particles in a periodic potential, over long distances larger than the lattice spacing, can be very different from their motion in a vacuum. The effective mass is a quantity that is used to simplify band structures by modeling the behavior of a free particle with that mass. For some purposes and some materials, the effective mass can be considered to be a simple constant of a material. In general, however, the value of effective mass depends on the purpose for which it is used, and can vary depending on a number of factors.
Space charge is a concept in which excess electric charge is treated as a continuum of charge distributed over a region of space rather than distinct point-like charges. This model typically applies when charge carriers have been emitted from some region of a solid—the cloud of emitted carriers can form a space charge region if they are sufficiently spread out, or the charged atoms or molecules left behind in the solid can form a space charge region. Space charge usually only occurs in dielectric media because in a conductive medium the charge tends to be rapidly neutralized or screened. The sign of the space charge can be either negative or positive. This situation is perhaps most familiar in the area near a metal object when it is heated to incandescence in a vacuum. This effect was first observed by Thomas Edison in light bulb filaments, where it is sometimes called the Edison effect, but space charge is a significant phenomenon in many vacuum and solid-state electronic devices.
The Drude model of electrical conduction was proposed in 1900 by Paul Drude to explain the transport properties of electrons in materials. The model, which is an application of kinetic theory, assumes that the microscopic behavior of electrons in a solid may be treated classically and looks much like a pinball machine, with a sea of constantly jittering electrons bouncing and re-bouncing off heavier, relatively immobile positive ions.
The Seebeck coefficient of a material is a measure of the magnitude of an induced thermoelectric voltage in response to a temperature difference across that material, as induced by the Seebeck effect. The SI unit of the Seebeck coefficient is volts per kelvin (V/K), although it is more often given in microvolts per kelvin (μV/K).
In solid-state physics, the free electron model is a simple model for the behaviour of charge carriers in a metallic solid. It was developed in 1927, principally by Arnold Sommerfeld who combined the classical Drude model with quantum mechanical Fermi–Dirac statistics and hence it is also known as the Drude–Sommerfeld model.
In physics, the Wiedemann–Franz law states that the ratio of the electronic contribution of the thermal conductivity (κ) to the electrical conductivity (σ) of a metal is proportional to the temperature (T).
In semiconductor physics, the depletion region, also called depletion layer, depletion zone, junction region, space charge region or space charge layer, is an insulating region within a conductive, doped semiconductor material where the mobile charge carriers have been diffused away, or have been forced away by an electric field. The only elements left in the depletion region are ionized donor or acceptor impurities.
In physics the Einstein relation is a previously unexpected connection revealed independently by William Sutherland in 1904, Albert Einstein in 1905, and by Marian Smoluchowski in 1906 in their papers on Brownian motion. The more general form of the equation is
In mesoscopic physics, ballistic conduction is the transport of charge carriers in a medium, having negligible electrical resistivity caused by scattering. Without scattering, electrons simply obey Newton's second law of motion at non-relativistic speeds.
In semiconductor physics, the Haynes–Shockley experiment was an experiment that demonstrated that diffusion of minority carriers in a semiconductor could result in a current. The experiment was reported in a short paper by Haynes and Shockley in 1948, with a more detailed version published by Shockley, Pearson, and Haynes in 1949. The experiment can be used to measure carrier mobility, carrier lifetime, and diffusion coefficient.
In condensed matter physics and electrochemistry, drift current is the electric current, or movement of charge carriers, which is due to the applied electric field, often stated as the electromotive force over a given distance. When an electric field is applied across a semiconductor material, a current is produced due to the flow of charge carriers.
As the devices continue to shrink further into the sub-100 nm range following the trend predicted by Moore’s law, the topic of thermal properties and transport in such nanoscale devices becomes increasingly important. Display of great potential by nanostructures for thermoelectric applications also motivates the studies of thermal transport in such devices. These fields, however, generate two contradictory demands: high thermal conductivity to deal with heating issues in sub-100 nm devices and low thermal conductivity for thermoelectric applications. These issues can be addressed with phonon engineering, once nanoscale thermal behaviors have been studied and understood.
Phonons can scatter through several mechanisms as they travel through the material. These scattering mechanisms are: Umklapp phonon-phonon scattering, phonon-impurity scattering, phonon-electron scattering, and phonon-boundary scattering. Each scattering mechanism can be characterised by a relaxation rate 1/ which is the inverse of the corresponding relaxation time.
The Monte Carlo method for electron transport is a semiclassical Monte Carlo(MC) approach of modeling semiconductor transport. Assuming the carrier motion consists of free flights interrupted by scattering mechanisms, a computer is utilized to simulate the trajectories of particles as they move across the device under the influence of an electric field using classical mechanics. The scattering events and the duration of particle flight is determined through the use of random numbers.
Single-walled carbon nanotubes have the ability to conduct electricity. This conduction can be ballistic, diffusive, or based on scattering. When ballistic in nature conductance can be treated as if the electrons experience no scattering.
Heat transfer physics describes the kinetics of energy storage, transport, and energy transformation by principal energy carriers: phonons, electrons, fluid particles, and photons. Heat is energy stored in temperature-dependent motion of particles including electrons, atomic nuclei, individual atoms, and molecules. Heat is transferred to and from matter by the principal energy carriers. The state of energy stored within matter, or transported by the carriers, is described by a combination of classical and quantum statistical mechanics. The energy is also transformed (converted) among various carriers. The heat transfer processes are governed by the rates at which various related physical phenomena occur, such as the rate of particle collisions in classical mechanics. These various states and kinetics determine the heat transfer, i.e., the net rate of energy storage or transport. Governing these process from the atomic level to macroscale are the laws of thermodynamics, including conservation of energy.
Synchronous coefficient of drag alteration (SCODA) is a biotechnology method for purifying, separating and/or concentrating bio-molecules. SCODA has the ability to separate molecules whose mobility can be altered in sync with a driving field. This technique has been primarily used for concentrating and purifying DNA, where DNA mobility changes with an applied electrophoretic field. Electrophoretic SCODA has also been demonstrated with RNA and proteins.